Honors and Awards
In recognition of his business accomplishments and philanthropy, Robert F. Smith has received numerous awards and honors.
Forbes Diversity & Inclusion Award, 2020
Forbes magazine named Robert F. Smith’s plan for improving racial equality, The 2% Solution, to the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Awards in 2020. Featured at the top of the list, Smith’s 2% Solution was named “Most Intriguing Idea” of the awardees. The 2% Solution was first announced in a June 2020 speech by Smith, where he called on banks and large corporations to dedicate 2% of their annual net income over the next ten years to invest in the Black community.
TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential People, 2020
Robert Smith was named to the Time 100 list in 2020 in recognition of his extraordinary work in liberating the human spirit through his philanthropy, investments, and advocacy for racial and economic justice for communities of color. Smith’s work, words, and resources are creating new opportunities for Black Americans and underserved communities throughout the US.
Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Award, 2019
Smith was awarded the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal in 2019, which is Harvard University’s highest honor in the field of African and African American studies. He was recognized for “changing lives and for forever and profoundly transforming the global philanthropic and businesses landscape.”
Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, 2019
In 2019, Smith was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in recognition of his bold philanthropy, investments in communities, and his strong calls for others to join him in giving back. The award honors philanthropists who reflect the values of Andrew Carnegie and his philosophy of giving—that the surplus wealth of the few should be administered “for the good of the people.”
Inductee into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, 2019
Smith was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2019 after being recognized by the general public and then selected by living Hall of Fame members. Inductees are evaluated by their accomplishments in business and contributions to their community.
UNCF President’s Award, 2019
In 2019, the UNCF honored Smith with their President’s Award, which is an honor given to individuals who have helped “shape the African American story by embodying the values and aspirations that UNCF represents” or individuals who have contributed resources necessary for UNCF students to succeed.
Honored by National Park Foundation, 2018
The National Park Foundation awarded Smith the title of “Honorary Ranger” in recognition of his dedication to African American history and cultural preservation at national parks across the country.
Forbes 100 Greatest Living Business Minds, 2017
In 2017, Smith was named one of Forbes’ “100 Greatest Living Business Minds”, recognizing him as one of America’s top business innovators.
Columbia University BBSA Distinguished Alumni Award, 2017
Columbia University’s Black Business Students Association (BBSA) named Smith as a recipient of their “Distinguished Alumni Award” in 2017. The BBSA at Columbia University exists to support Black business school students while they are pursuing their degrees and beyond.
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Award, 2016
Smith was honored with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Award in 2016. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and educational institute that works to benefit the global Black community.
Ripple of Hope Award from Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, 2010
In 2010, Smith was awarded the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award, which “celebrates leaders of the international business, entertainment, and activist communities who have demonstrated a commitment to social change.” Past award recipients include Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bono, John Lewis, and Tim Cook. Smith is Chairman of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.
Follow Robert F. Smith on social media for the latest on his work as a business and philanthropic leader.